How Law Firms Can Fight Against Cyber Crimes

by | Published on Jan 14, 2019 | Document Conversion / Scanning Services

Any provider of data conversion services knows that data security is a prime concern for all organizations. With rising technological changes ranging from online shopping to mobile payment, the chances of data loss are also high. New customer behavior models have increased the chances of network-enabled cyber attack exponentially. Cyber attacks can occur at any point on the internet. As the number of devices increases, the chances of cyber attacks and disruptions also increase.

Cyber Crimes

For better storage accessibility, organizations are using cloud computing but it could lead to additional security risks. IDG found that 28 percent of all organizations rely on private clouds and 32 percent utilize public or hybrid model of cloud computing. According to a cloud computing market analysis by Cisco, 83 percent of all data traffic will be based in the cloud in the future. Therefore organizations need people who are skilled to secure networks and also protect systems, computers. Cyber attacks and data security vulnerabilities have become a major concern for many organizations. Huge breaches have occurred in companies like Uber, Equifax, Yahoo, Facebook and others. The changing regularity landscape is making it more challenging for everyone to stay on top of compliance requirements.

Data Breach in Law Firms

Law firms that have not invested in advanced technology and new devices are soft targets for cyber criminals to hack and get information. ABA’s survey points to significant consequences that law firms face from cyber attacks – loss of billable hours, destruction or loss of files, and having to pay substantial consulting fee for repairing damage that resulted from the attack. It not only causes technological issues, but also damages the reputation of the law firm. To avoid data breaches and its negative consequences, law firms can stay compliant with certain organizations via industry-specific privacy and data security laws and regulations.

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: This act applies to covered entities like health plans, health care clearing houses and healthcare providers because these entities rely on third part services that allow sharing information with businesses associates. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, a business associate is a person or entity that performs certain functions or activities that involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity. Before sharing the information, the entity must first receive satisfactory assurance that the information will be used only for the purpose it was obtained for.
  • Federal Reserve System: It issued Guidance on Managing Outsourcing Risk which addresses concerns about third party service providers and the risks of data breach. It also defines service providers as “all entities that have entered into a contractual relationship with a financial institution to provide business functions or activities.” The issue shows that financial institutions should treat the service provider’s risk management program commensurate with the risk presented by each service provider. According to the publication, it focuses on outsourced activities that have a substantial impact on a financial institution’s financial condition and are important to the institution’s ongoing operations. Sensitive data includes customer information or new bank products or services or poses material compliance risk. It involves due diligence and selection of service providers, risk assessment, incentive compensation review, contract provisions and considerations, oversight and monitoring of service provider, and business continuity and contingency plans.
  • Gramm Leach Bliley Act: This was introduced to require financial institutions to explain their information sharing practice to safeguard vulnerable customer data to from data breach. Under this act, all financial institutions are required to protect their consumer data from any security breach. They are also required to ensure that parties with whom they are doing business must also be able to safeguard data with which they have been entrusted.
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: They issued a Guidance for Managing Third-Party Risk where the agency ensures that an institution’s board of directors and senior management are responsible for the activities and risk associated with third party vendors. The publication summarizes risks that third party entities may pose which includes strategic risk, compliance risk, operational risk, credit risk and so on. It also addresses risk management process which includes following steps like risk assessment, due diligence in selecting a third party, contract structuring and review, and oversight.
  • Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard: This was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa, Inc. with the intent to develop, improve, disseminate and assist with the understanding of security standards for payment account security. The standard applies to all entities that process and transmit cardholder data and it includes the following requirements:
    • To protect cardholder data install and maintain a firewall configuration
    • Protect cardholder data
    • Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open and public networks
    • Assign a unique ID card to each person who has computer access.
    • Do not use vendor supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters.
    • Maintain a secure system and application
    • Use anti -virus software program
    • Restrict physical access to card holders
    • Track and monitor all access to network resource and card holder data

Other tips:

  • Assign a good computer security consultant to look for weak areas and make necessary steps to safeguard data. You can also assign one of your IT experts if you have one.
  • Invest in robust security measures because it is never as high as the cost of the consequences of a breach in terms of money, time and reputation. Law firm are spending more money in safeguarding data and there should be a budget for implementing security measures.
  • Consider purchasing a cyber liability insurance policy for the firm.
  • Makes sure that the firm has a crisis communication plan in the event of a breach.
  • Law firm clients want to be informed about how their attorneys protect their data. It is important to explain your firm’s cyber security measures in RFPs and to clients. Convince the clients that they have chosen the right law firm and that their information will be protected. Law firms that don’t protect client data could face federal regulatory enforcement actions.
  • Update software in a timely manner and install security patches. Change passwords regularly.

Data security laws and regulations must be strictly followed to protect sensitive data and systems. The first step towards data protection is choosing the right vendor. If you are using data entry solutions for instance, make sure to choose a reliable data entry service that you can trust.

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